Daniel Snyder once said he would NEVER (in all caps) change the racist name of his NFL franchise. Never just arrived.
Updated July 13, 2020 at 9:54 a.m.: On Monday, the Washington NFL franchise announced in a statement that the name of the team and its logo are history.
“Today, we are announcing we will be retiring the [deleted] name and logo upon completion of this review,” the team said in a statement.
“Dan Snyder and Coach [Ron] Rivera are working closely to develop a new name and design approach that will enhance the standing of our proud, tradition rich franchise and inspire our sponsors, fans and community for the next 100 years.”
The Washington Post broke the news of the announcement late Sunday night.
After receiving pressure from several sponsors early this month, including Nike, PepsiCo and FedEx — the company that pays for the right to have its name grace the team’s stadium — Snyder released a statement on July 3 that the organization was open to considering a name change and would begin a “thorough review” of the matter.
“This process allows the team to take into account not only the proud tradition and history of the franchise but also input from our alumni, the organization, sponsors, the National Football League and the local community it is proud to represent on the field,” read the statement.
According to the Post, the organization has a replacement name in mind, but is not able to make any announcement yet due to an on-going trademark fight.
A lot has changed in just seven years. Back in 2013, Snyder famously told USA Today, “We’ll never change the name. It’s that simple. NEVER — you can use caps.”
But after the the murder of George Floyd by four Minneapolis cops back in May, a push began to tear down images of white supremacy, particularly statues of Confederate officers, enslavers and known racists. Snyder, subsequently removed the name of Washington’s original owner George Preston Marshall — a known racist and last NFL owner to integrate his team — from its Ring of Fame and renamed the lower bowl of its stadium after the franchise’s first Black player Bobby Mitchell. A statue of Marshall was also removed from the front of RFK Stadium, the former home of the D.C. NFL team.
It wasn’t long before public outrage turned its attention to the most racist team name in sports (because Deadspin considers the name a slur, we will not print it). In June, Nestle announced it was abandoning same racial slur it used for an Australian candy.
But in the end, it came down to money as over 80 investors sent letters to FedEx, Nike and PepsiCo requesting the companies no longer do business with the franchise. FedEx, which pays $7.6 million per year for the Landover, Md. stadium naming rights, told Deadspin that it had asked the team to change the name.
“We have communicated to the team in Washington our request that they change the team name,” FedEx said in a statement when asked by Deadspin about the issue back on July 2.